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Video Game / Jardinains!

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Jardinains! is a PC shareware game released by the small game shop Magic Chopstick Games in 2001. It received a sequel, Jardinains 2!, in 2006. Their official sites are here and here. The free game demos generously give you 50 levels to play as much as you want.

At first glance, Jardinains! seems to be just another Breakout clone. You control a paddle at the bottom of the screen and try to bounce the ball(s) so that they break all the breakable bricks in the level. Then you'll advance to the next level and do the same thing.

If only it were that simple...

In these games, little gnome-like creatures called nains hide in the bricks. Their only goal in life is to torment you. They'll distract you. They'll throw junk at your paddle to stun it for a while and make you lose some points. They'll laugh at you when you mess up. Fortunately, you can knock them off their bricks and bounce them with your paddle. Each consecutive bounce gives you twice as many points as the last. If you bounce them enough times, they'll turn into powerups.

The games provide examples of:

  • 1-Up: Both games have extra lives as power-ups. They look like hearts in the second game.
  • Banana Peel: Referenced in both games with the powerup that looks like a banana peel and makes all the nains slip and fall off their bricks. Unfortunately, all their flowerpots will fall too.
  • Breaking Out
  • Cheat Code:
    • In the first game, you can enter cheat codes after pressing the backtick key while the game is paused. The codes are:
      • "gomomgo": You get 30 extra lives.
      • "uuddlrlrba": Turns all your balls into Brickplow Boomers.
      • "they're everywhere": Spawns many, many nains.
      • "20 goto ##": Skips to level ##.
    • In the second game, you can enable cheats by pressing C while the game is paused and then clicking OK. Then you can use the following during gameplay:
      • 1-7: Change your ball
      • N: Instantly advance to the next level
      • G: Avoid losing the ball and making the paddle huge
      • S: Toggle slow motion.
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: The official website for the first game acknowledges piracy as a mean of obtaining it, but tries to encourage you to buy it instead.
  • Interface Screw: The Paddle Scrambler powerup from the second game reverses the controls of the paddle. Catching another one will set it right.
  • Level Editor: Both games have fully functional level editors that can be accessed by pressing [E] at the main menu. Note that 2!'s is only available in the full version of the game.
  • Konami Code: "uuddlrlrba" and "upupdowndownleftrightleftrightbastart" are Cheat Codes in the first game.
  • Mutually Exclusive Power-Ups:
    • Averted with the Brickplow and Boomer ball powerups in the first game. If you have one and catch the other, you'll get the effects of both.
    • In the second game, Fire Ball, Ice Ball, and Shock Ball can't be combined. However, there is a separate powerup, Impossiball, that has all their powers.
    • There are four types of cannons/lasers for your paddle. They are Fast Lasers, Fireball Cannon, Ice Cannon and Shock Lasers. You can only have one at a time.
  • Numbered Sequels: The sequel to Jardinains! is simply named Jardinains 2!.
  • Pinball Scoring: Downplayed in the first game, where all scores are multiples of 5.
  • Poison Mushroom: Several of the powerups are bad:
    • Shrink Paddle and Fast Ball do exactly what you'd expect.
    • The Paddle Scrambler reverses the controls of the paddle.
    • The appropriately named Very, Very Bad removes the effects of all good powerups, makes your paddle tiny and the balls super fast. Unless you have great reflexes and/or are very close to finishing the level, this might as well be a death sentence.
  • Portmanteau: Jardinains = "jardin"note +"nains"note .
  • Schmuck Bait: The powerup that looks like a prohibition sign. In the help file for 2!, its name is revealed to be "Very, Very Bad" and the description is "Do not get this powerup. Do not get this powerup" (emphasis original). If you catch it anyway, you'll lose all the ball and paddle powerups you had and have to deal with a tiny paddle and a really fast ball for the rest of the level or until you lose a life.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Level 33 of the first game looks like a ghost from Pac-Man.
    • The second game has a level that resembles Space Invaders.